The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal

Spring 2021

Vol. 2.1 – Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

I write to you 1,047 miles from Yale within the confines of my childhood home, a situation I could not have imagined even a year ago when undergraduates were sent home indefinitely over spring break. The past academic year has been turbulent and rife with sorrow, globally and within the Yale community. The isolation of remote learning and distanced student life has been particularly trying.

And yet, we have persevered. Nationally, vaccines have been developed with unprecedented speed. More personally, this issue of the Yale Undergraduate Research Journal serves as a testament to the tenacity of our community and dedication to truth and excellence, even amidst a pandemic.

This past cycle, we received a record number of submissions — over 150 across diverse fields of research — representing a 50% increase from our inaugural issue. Correspondingly, we have more than doubled our staff to process submissions and worked with over 200 graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, and professor reviewers, whose thoughtful insight, expertise, and dedication to teaching serve as the bedrock of our journal. We have also begun a fruitful partnership with Symposia, a publication dedicated to profiling Yale's undergraduate researchers, professors, and alumni.

Within the pages of this issue, you will find the strongest submissions we received in each division of the journal, an honor bestowed on only 6% of all submissions. The selected articles mirror many of the concerns of our current moment: the weight of social and historical forces, the crafting of resistance against these forces, the influence of moral attitudes in everyday language and political donations, and imminent considerations of climate change, computational methods, and aging. You will also find the winners of our inaugural cover design contest to the right, whose submissions were inspired by the abstracts of our selected articles.

In sum, I am delighted to share with you the spring issue of the Yale Undergraduate Research Journal. Over the coming months, we will continue to publish articles online of the many more excellent papers we received this cycle. As a preview, you may find the abstracts of these articles at the end of this journal.

We are endlessly grateful to have the generous support of Branford College, our advisory board of graduate students and faculty, alumni sponsors, and a number of Yale departments, supporting our journal through subscriptions and donations.

In pursuit of light and truth,
Selena Lee
Editor in Chief